Friday, December 18, 2009

Saturday Italian: Christmas Cookies

It's the last Saturday of the session, and we ended by making frosted ricotta cookies for Christmas. Yes, sprinkles were involved. It's a really easy recipe, and the cookies are wicked good!

Some people are unsure when they hear that ricotta is involved, but in Italy ricotta is used in both sweet and savory (not sweet) dishes. One of the best-known ways to use sweetened ricotta is to squeeze it into a cannoli shell. In this recipe, the ricotta is not used to flavor the cookie, but more to give it a light and airy texture.

Here's the recipe for about 12-18 cookies (depending on how big you make them):
Ricotta Cookies

1 stick butter, softened            2 cups flour
¼ cup ricotta                           ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla                            ½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg

1. Combine the wet ingredients (butter, ricotta, vanilla, sugar, egg) and mix until there is no yellow of the egg yolk.

2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, b.soda, salt) in a separate bowl.

3. Slowly add dry ingredients into the wet, a bit at a time. Stir only until there is no dry flour. Do not over mix.

4. Put into rounded teaspoons full on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.
For the icing:

Combine about 2-3 tbs of whole milk to about one cup of confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl until it is the consistency of Elmer’s Glue. If it is too wet, add more sugar. Too dry, add more milk. You can also add lemon or almond extract.

Drizzle icing over cooled cookies. Add sprinkles while icing is still wet.

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